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Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera

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Reece Crooke
Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jun 29, 2015 at 12:23:42 pm

Hello!

Can someone please recommend a new or second hand P2 camera that works well in low light conditions?

I only shoot at night and am looking to upgrade my current camera.

The client currently still requires the footage in SD but may make the switch to HD within the next year I believe. I shoot a lot of emergency services which produce bright reflections back at the camera when I use my light.

If you could recommend a lens/body combo to suit these conditions I would greatly appreciate it!

Thank you!

Reece


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Sam Lee
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jun 30, 2015 at 1:17:17 am
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jun 30, 2015 at 1:56:18 am

For 1/3", the Panasonic HPX-250 & PX270 are good choices. Some sort of DNR & PAP settings are applied. I have to say it's pretty good. Unfortunately the lens are not at all good so you'll see slight-moderate blurriness due to lackluster stock lens over 2/3" with a real HD broadcast lens costing 4-6x more than the 1/3" cam itself.

2/3": They're all fairly noisy (HPX3000, 3100, 3700, PX5000) once the gain is set to 3 dB and beyond. I don't know any PAP modes are applied. I guess they designed for pro use and pros generally always have some kind of light. But thanks to high quality lens, it's sharp. I mean sharp in low light. Colors are popping out. It's remarkable to look at. It's like a super clear diamond glass or something like that from super wide to closeup. Something 1/3" w/ stock lens can't achieve. It's subdued and looks flat. To workaround this, simply shoot closer and tighter shots.


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Reece Crooke
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jun 30, 2015 at 11:46:32 am

Wow thank you Sam for your detailed reply.

I assume PAP is some sort of noise reduction filter?

I was looking at a used HPX2000 as it better accommodates my budget, but will do some research into the above 2/3" range.

Thanks again!


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Sam Lee
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:03:28 pm
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jun 30, 2015 at 3:20:31 pm

The HPX-2000 was and is an excellent low-light camera. I used it for a year and a half. It has similar characteristics of the legacy SDX900, HDX900. Gaining up to 6 dB is quite clean - similar to the SDX900. To make it simple: It's a broadcast grade cam. The 5-slot P2 is a classic. I can literally put all 64 Gb and be done for the day.

The only problem with this cam is that it's a 720p native camera. It can shoot 1080i/p, but at a cost of upsampling. Ultimately, it will not be sharp or crisp as in 720p. In today's world, 1080p is pretty much the norm minimum. Due to market demands, I had to go with the 3000 series for 1080p native CCDs over 720p. But the cost of the 1080p CCDs is loosing about 2 stops total in overall sensitivity with the 1080p native CCDs vs 720p on the HPX2000. AVC-I 100 is an option. Going from 8 to 10 bits helps a lot for scenics. It simply capture the sky or other high color scenes much better than 8-bit. And definitely can maintain the integrity of the footage in post prod - particularly color grading.

The progressive advanced processing is indeed a digital noise reduction circuit in Panasonic's entry level broadcast 1/3" cams.

Even though large sensor Super 35 mm cams are taking a huge portion of the 2/3" cams market share, for some odd reasons 2/3" cams are still in demand. I recall just last year where majority of the production community neglected the 2/3" HPX 3000 series and you can get quite a few of them for 1/3 of the cost. All of the sudden last 3-4 months they're in hot demand again. This is good news because it will not be obsolete for a long while. Super 35mm cams can supplement other shooting needs, but still can't completely replace 2/3" cams.


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Paul Anderegg
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jul 24, 2015 at 10:13:49 am

I jus bought a used HPX600 for $6000, P2, 1080p, f12@2000, standard B4 mount. I put a $1000 Fujinon 22x lens on it, and the camera has a digital 2x extender. You can even activate the 4x extender,a nd still maintain SD quality with NO LIGHT LOSS. You say you shoot night END, that is all I do as well. Anything that can be done to not allow the camera to physically loose light is a big deal for us. Most of the people on these forums do not appreciate what living and working in the dark in an uncontrolled environment puts us through.

I also had an HPX2000, which you can snag for under $5000 these days. It has a digital extender as well, and looks sweet with cheap SD glass on it. It gets noisier faster than newer cameras though. It goes to 42db gain, and also to like 1/4 sec shutter. The HPX600 will only go to 18db, and 1/15 shutter. HPX600 sucks 18 watts, HPX2000 43 watts! HPX600 is also very light weight.

Other cameras on the good in low light include the PMW320 with Canon HJ21x lens, constant f1.4 aperture, the PMW350, also f12@2000 with a 2x digital extender, but more expensive, and the JVC HM890 with Fujinon HTs18 lens, which is f11@2000 with a constant f1.4.

Paul


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Reece Crooke
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jul 26, 2015 at 11:29:42 am

Wow thank you so much for that info Paul!!

Yes haha it can sometimes be hard for people to understand the difficulties of the night ENG job.

That HPX600 with the 22x sounds like a great setup! Im definitely going to look into those.

What lighting do your run Paul?

My main light is a 24v 250W halogen, but I am looking into some of the LED options when I replace the current rig.

Thanks again, you have helped a lot!


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Paul Anderegg
Re: Low Light ENG Broadcast Camera
on Jul 26, 2015 at 5:35:07 pm

I currently use a Lowel 100watt ID light, for camera battery powered illumination. I also have a Comer 1800 zoom LED.

Specifically for my HPX600, I bought a Paglight system. It is a focusable light head that can do 12v, 24v, 30v up to 250watts, as well as 12v HMI arc and LED modules. The system is really versatile, you just pull the bulb module out of the back to convert the light to another type!

I have my HPX600 in front of me now. Going to do a write up review on it's features since nothing exists really online. Playing with the 2/4x digital extenders.

Paul


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